Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called for a mandatory evacuation in low-lying areas of New York City and announced all public schools will be closed on Monday. Hours before heavy wind and rain arrive Sunday evening, the mayor said flooding is anticipated through Tuesday.
Bloomberg’s announcement comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that the Metropolitan Tranportation Authority would suspend public transportation indefinitely starting at 7 p.m. Sunday evening.
Bloomberg’s mandatory evacuation order covers Zone A, which includes Brooklyn’s Coney Island and Manhattan Beach; Far Rockaway and Broad Channel in Queens; South Beach and Midland Beach on Staten Island, and Battery Park City in lower Manhattan. There are about 370,000 people that make up the population of Zone A.
“Last night we said this was serious and dangerous storm. Nothing has changed there,” Bloomberg said. “The surge will be a few feet more than what they predicted yesterday, around 6 to 11 feet. Gale-force winds will start late this afternoon, growing overnight, and the worst of the storm will still be on Monday night. But tides overnight tonight will lead to coastal flooding in Zone A. ... We anticipate the surge will hit a lot of low-lying areas, and the possibility of flooding will continue into Tuesday afternoon.”
Bloomberg also reminded New Yorkers that the evacuation is not optional. If residents choose not to leave and are later in harm’s way they are jeopardizing the safety of public workers and FEMA responders, who have been deployed across the Mid-Atlantic States as a precaution.
“If you don't evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you,” Bloomberg said. “This is a serious and dangerous storm.”
WNYC reported that when the MTA shut down prior to Hurricane Irene in 2011 it was the first weather related stoppage in its history.